Release Date: Feb 17, 2009
Record label: Dead Oceans
Genre(s): Indie, Rock, Electronic
With Terrific Seasons (2007) and the ‘Taro Tarot’ EP (2008), These Are Powers proved themselves capable of matching Liars’ They Were Wrong... or Sonic Youth’s EVOL, without becoming the insipid disco-punk copyists that Liars spawned at the beginning of the decade, and reputedly sacked their rhythm section for fear of being pigeonholed with. Seeing as how Pat Noecker was part of that rhythm section, there’s a school of thought that would call All aboard Future TAP’s own Drum’s not Dead, so daring is the decision to dispense with the heaviosity, dread, and (in a word) ROCK of previous releases.
Last year’s Taro Tarot, an EP by Brooklyn/Chicago noisemakers These Are Powers, was a six song retrofitted No Wave powerhouse, obnoxiously combustible and piston rhythmic, mixing art snob perspective with electronically enhanced consistency. Between former Liar bassist Pat Noecker, singer/guitarist Anna Barie and Bill Salas, (known also as beatmeister Brenmar), there was an interesting marriage of Lydia Lunch six-string cacophony and Aphex Twin avant propulsion. Even the nonsensical crayon scrawl on Taro Tarot’s cover appropriately foretold of the sounds it would sonically dispense, its quickly stroked and abstract shape expressing the music through movement.
As far as tone is concerned, These Are Powers have that down above anything else. Teeth-grittingly tense and with chilling atmosphere, they play the appropriate soundtrack for a bombed-out, water-damaged Brooklyn basement with one bulb for light. If the Yeah Yeah Yeahs had pursued the more confrontational branches of New York no-wave, they would probably sound like this.
All Aboard Future bleeps and bops along, tickling eardrums with its throbbing dissonance, which would be most appropriately heard at the launch of a gallery you won't hear about for two more years. Borrow Dad's Grados to get the full NYC art rock "don't call us no-wave" spiral thumps on Adam's Turtle and Life Of Birds. These Are Powers prefer to be called "ghost punk," a meaningless term pointing to an unhealthy concern about pigeonholing.
On All Aboard Future, These Are Powers’ songs distract from the music. Consequently, the record sputters. Before getting into the album, though, I should say that These Are Powers are a diamond-in-the-rough live band, thanks to a combination of athletic stage presence (esp. singer/guitarist Anna Barie) and an intuitive sense of when and how to make noise.